As Americans, we like to believe that we should enjoy our freedoms to the fullest, including our right to have our own independent political opinions and to elect people to office who will work in our best interest. On our best days, we hope our politicians will work to advance the interests of our country and our Commonwealth.
We get our back up when people lecture us not to vote based on superficial attributes like good looks, an easy manner, and general charisma. The truth is, these qualities are a part of life, and we have every right to vote independently based on anything we want. That is freedom.
But what we recently learned about U.S. Senator Scott Brown is another matter.
We just learned that he is in over his head.
Scott Brown ran for election claiming he would be an independent voice, implying that he would be in the tradition of Massachusetts Republicans like William Weld, Edward Brooke, John Volpe, Leverett Saltonstall and Henry Cabot Lodge. None of these leviathans would have been as lost about legislation as Scott Brown just revealed himself to be last month, or as out of touch with the bread-and-butter needs of Bay Staters. Why do I say this?
Scott Brown recently disregarded the Obama compromise and voted to support the Blunt Amendment, limiting access to contraception coverage. Aside from being completely out of step and extreme, the bill was so sloppily drafted that it would have allowed any employer to deny medical coverage of any kind to an employee for any supposed reason of conscience, casting aside not just the Affordable Care Act, but all traditional American medical plan coverage. This vote put a bold font on Senator Brown’s lazy work ethic when he said not to worry about the cascading fallout the bill would have caused because “people could sue” if they had to. Senator Brown simply did not understand: the whole point of the legislation was to make it so employees would not be able to sue if they were denied coverage.
Good-looking is great. Glib is great. Charming is great. Incompetence is not acceptable. These times are too dire to re-elect a Senator Scott Brown in over his head and producing nothing for our state.
Elizabeth Warren, by contrast, will bring competence and a proven work ethic in the tradition of Ted Kennedy back to the Senate to deliver for the needs of Massachusetts.
Fred Rich LaRiccia
(Note: The writer interned for the late Senator Ted Kennedy and is a Founding Member of the Honorary Fellows of the John F. Kennedy Library.)